Where's The Romance In Music Today?

12/08/2015 8:01 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Patrick George via Getty Images

It is almost a ritual. After a deadly dose of negativity emanating from the news, I listen to a couple of old songs before calling it a day. Mellifluous voice of Rafi, and dulcet notes of Lata ensure that Arnab does not appear in my dreams, drenching me in cold sweat, asking me to resign from life.

So when 'Aapki Ankhon Mein Kuch Mehke Hue Se Khwab' was seducing me to sleep, it dawned that most songs today are bereft of romance. Where is the hero who engaged the heroine over charms of poetry? Poetry as a vehicle for romance is on its way out. Perhaps, it is in the nature of evolution that we do things differently. Lyrical admiration where eyes close, nostrils flare and chins quiver without the quintessential shaking of limbs, has lost meaning in a world where actions speaks louder than words. No wonder, poetic imagery of yesteryears has paved way for live action replacing the magic of words with the beat of music. What we have today is more of teasing, dancing and celebrating, minus poetry drenched in an overdose of emotions. Not surprising at all, because the pace of life reflects in the rendition of songs too.

"Rather than smiling coyly and fluttering eyelashes, girls would perhaps cringe if their beau decided to close eyes and sing 'Chaudhvi Ka Chand Ho'."

Moreover, not many girls would appreciate meandering lazy poetry loaded with an emotional surplus admiring their beauty. Rather than smiling coyly and fluttering eyelashes, girls would perhaps cringe if their beau decided to close eyes and sing 'Chaudhvi Ka Chand Ho'. In digital times, any ode to lustrous hair (zulfein), soulful eyes (ankhen), unique style (andaaz) pretty smile (muskurana) or alluring walk (chal) would perhaps invite ridicule. Is it any surprise, therefore, that far away from the sophistry of 'Kabhie Kabhie Mere Dil Mein' we have 'Sexy Dress Mein Bomb Lagdi Mainu' which is funky. But crass. Above all, it is impossible to sing along.

Given that current songs are meant to play at dance parties and marriages from Haryana to Bihar, we have an assortment of colloquial words interspersed in the lyrics. Moreover, the party scene has changed drastically. The party songs of today are not about playing the piano and singing songs of self-pity, betrayal or admiration. A hilarious satirical video by AIB starring Irrfan Khan is spot on. It tells us how party songs objectify women by portraying random bikini clad girls in a mandatory pool sequence with the hero spraying booze on her, err, body parts.

Many are lamenting the rout of romance as the musical palette of Enriques' ballads and Bryan Adam's songs is fading against a flashy cocktail of meaningless lyrics. A leisurely walk in the park, handpicked flowers, a handwritten note and candle light dinners are passé, but romance is not dead. Because when it comes to Bollywood music, Arijit Singh's 'Tum Hi Ho' and Mohit Chauhan's 'Tum Se Hi Din Hota Hai' prove that a soulful rendition replete with effortless prose is always appreciated.

While it is perfectly unreasonable to expect present day songs to go back to old fashioned romance, there is relief in knowing that I can always melt into the gentle soulfulness of poetry.

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